WGBH: Green in Boston

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Radio Control 2 is dedicated to music post production.<br />
<em>Photo courtesy of Andy Washnik of Corpricom</em>

Radio Control 2 is dedicated to music post production.
Photo courtesy of Andy Washnik of Corpricom

WGBH-FM is one of the largest providers of programming for public radio stations across the United States. This includes a global news and public affairs show, The World, co-produced by WGBH Radio, BBC and Public Radio International (broadcast nationally to more than 230 public stations), production of live performances, and programming featuring classical, jazz and Celtic music.

In 2002, WGBH Television and Radio announced plans to move to a new location in Boston's Brighton Landing that would feature new broadcast studios and a 200-seat theater. The new facility would also have a 40'-by-30' video mural featuring light-emitting diodes that can be seen from the Massachusetts Turnpike.

WGBH's new Brighton complex is officially green, with LEED certification granted by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. The green designation features construction from recycled steel, motion-sensitive office lighting, UV-filtering glass and motorized sunshades, water-conserving features, solar panels generating 100kW of power, and a “green roof.”

Making connections

WGBH-FM General Manager John Voci said, “One of the design criteria was to increase our visibility within the institution. We were kind of hidden away in the old facilities, and you could have walked by us and not realized that a radio station was there. Today we have two high-profile studios [Fraser Performance Recording Studio and The World news complex] sitting on both ends of the new building. It is pretty hard to ignore us right now.”

For the new studios, Janson Design Group created floor-to-ceiling windows in The World and Fraser studio that look out on Boston streets. The glass windows weigh three tons and have three layers of special glass. Voci said, “It is kind of nice to go from a subterranean environment to where you have some visual connection with the outside world.”

The new WGBH radio facility is comprised of two on-air control rooms, four production control rooms, five studios, two digital mix rooms, a 34-desk newsroom and a radio master control room. A striking focal point of the new facility is the recording studio.

Fraser studio

The Fraser Performance Recording Studio is a 2,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art recording and live FM broadcast studio with a 28' acoustically isolated ceiling, 5.1 surround sound control room, three isolation rooms and a green room.

The 2,000 square foot Fraser Performance Recording Studio  broadcasts live events.<br>
<em>Photo courtesy of Andy Washnik of Corpricom</em>

The 2,000 square foot Fraser Performance Recording Studio broadcasts live events.
Photo courtesy of Andy Washnik of Corpricom

The studio opened in September 2007. Acoustical features include double-wall construction around the studio on spring-isolated, floating concrete floors. RPG Quadratic Diffusors are installed on the lower half of the walls, with 2”-thick, fabric-wrapped panels attached to the upper-half of the studio walls. Ceiling panels are RPG Skyline 3-D diffusors, and corner bass traps are built in.

Some 150 live-to-air radio performances are produced every year in the studio that showcases local, national and international artists.

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